What hold does Volumnia have upon her son, Coriolanus?

enotes | Student

In Act V, scene iii, Coriolanus's mother Volumnia is confident that she can persuade her son to spare Rome even though he is likely to lose his life to the Volsces as a consequence. She declares that, "there's no man in the world more bound to his mother" (ll.159-160). Plainly, Coriolanus craves his mother's approval and will alter his actions when she threatens to withhold, as in this instance and in Act III, scene ii. Volumnia herself explains that she not only raised him to become a military hero, she furnished him with her own cold honor, reminding him that his "valiantness" before the walls of Corioles "was mine" (III, ii, l.129). Perhaps most important, as her domination over her daughter-in-law Virgilia exemplifies, Volumnia has kept her son emotionally isolated. Coriolanus has detractors, admirers, and archrivals, but he has no friends. He is characteristically referred to by himself and others as being alone, as when he calls himself a "lonely dragon." Volumnia can control Coriolanus because no one else has any attachment to him at all, a situation that she has engineered from the time of his birth. Coriolanus is not simply Volumnia's child,he is her deliberate creation.

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